Seasonal migrations of beluga whales from the Sakhalin-Amur aggregation in the Sea of Okhotsk were investigated with the use of satellite telemetry. Satellite tags were attached to four females captured near Chkalova Island, Sakhalin Bay, in August 2007. At 5 weeks after tagging, the belugas left the Chkalova Island area and moved to the Nikolaya and Ul’banskii Bays in the Shantar Sea. The animals stayed in these bays (mainly in Nikolaya Bay) until the end of autumn and then traveled northward to deeper waters. In winter and spring, they preferred to stay in the regions with dense ice cover or close to the ice edge. During the winter migration, the tagged whales, as a rule, did not keep together, although they followed the same course with a little time lag. The female whose tag transmitted the longest (9.5 months) returned to Chkalova Island in late May and thus completed the seasonal migration cycle. Based on the data on the migration routes of the tagged belugas, we suggest that the Sakhalin-Amur and Shantar aggregations interact in autumn. It is also possible that they have similar winter migratory paths
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 7, 2010
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